The last week of the regular season is here. Conference Championship week is here and I did a horrible job with my predictions. Except for the Pac 12 which I got right! Woo! On Sunday we will learn the final BCS rankings and where all the teams will be heading.
But before that, there is still the chance for some upsets (I’m looking at you Michigan State). It is going to be nearly impossible to top the Iron Bowl, so let’s not be disappointed if we don’t get another Auburn miracle (maybe Michigan State can get a miracle). If the season continues on the path it has been on, we are in for some great football in week 15.
MAC Championship: Bowling Green vs 14Northern Illinois (Friday) The first of the seven conference championship games is on Friday night. The BCS-busting Northern Illinois Huskies will take on the Bowling Green Falcons for the MAC Championship game. A win for the Huskies would be their third straight MAC Championship, and a win by the Falcons would mean no BCS bid for the conference. Of course, one of the biggest reasons for NIU’s success is Senior QB Jordan Lynch. If I voted for the Heisman Trophy, he would be my #1. Yes, Jameis Winston has had an incredible year, but he is a redshirt freshman and has top talent around him because he is at Florida State. While the MAC is nothing to laugh at, they just don’t get the same level of recruits, at least not at every position. His stats are also completely insane. He has passed for 2,457 yards and 22TDs, rushed for 1,755 yards and 20TD, and also has a 17-yard TD reception. And with the way he has been running, there is a very real possibility he could get to 2,000 rushing yards. I don’t think he will, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did. Bowling Green has a great team as well, but I don’t think they can beat the Huskies. I am picking Northern Illinois by a TD.
My Pick: Northern Illinois vs Ohio
SEC Championship: 5Missouri vs 3Auburn What a season in the SEC. What a season for these two teams. Auburn was 0-8 in the SEC last season and Missouri was 6-2. They have both come such a long way in a single year. Not many thought Missouri would be able to play with the “big boys” in the SEC, and they proved us all wrong. I know I circled the Auburn game as a sure win for Arkansas at the beginning of the season… But then again, I bet Alabama fans did too. Getting to the game happening on Saturday, my biggest concern is how well Auburn will be able to handle last week’s insane victory. Missouri is a team that scares me. Mainly because everyone is talking about how Auburn can get into the title game if Ohio State loses. It seems most don’t think Mizzou can beat Auburn. Auburn has been on the receiving end of a couple miracles this season, do they have one more in their pockets? Or have they run out? I guess we will find out on Saturday. I hope this a close game that comes down to the end, but I doubt it can end in a more exciting way than the Iron Bowl. I am picking Auburn by a TD or less.
My Pick: Alabama vs South Carolina (so close)
Big 10 Championship: 2Ohio State vs 10Michigan State I try to be as unbiased as possible when it comes to picking games. But, I am rooting so hard for Michigan State. As soon as Chris Davis crossed the plane of the end zone to win the Iron Bowl, I became a fan of Sparty. I don’t think Ohio State has played a tough enough schedule to deserve to play in the National Championship, but I don’t think I would feel right if a 25-0 Ohio State team missed the Championship to a one-loss team. So, if Michigan State wins, I don’t have to feel bad about them not being in the Championship. Luckily for me, Michigan State has one of the best defenses in the country and Ohio State allowed 41 points last week against a not-so-great Michigan team. It will be very tough to get the win, but of all the Big 10 teams, Michigan State has the best chance. For the Spartans to get the win, they need to keep the game low scoring. Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes are capable of scoring a lot of points. Hopefully this will be an exciting game (or MSU could destroy OSU, that would be ok with me too). I am picking Michigan State by less than a TD.
My Pick: Ohio State vs Nebraska
ACC Championship: 20Duke vs 1Florida State If you watched Sports Center at any point today, you probably heard that freshman phenom Jameis Winston was not charged with a felony. And that’s all I’m going to say about that because this blog is about football. If you want the story go to ESPN. In my opinion, if Florida State beats Duke this weekend, they deserve a spot in the National Championship. They have completely blown out every team they have played this season (except Boston College). Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, their first ACC Championship game might not be the greatest experience. If FSU continues to be FSU, this game will be over quickly. I don’t think Duke has much of a chance. This will probably be another huge win for the Seminoles. I just can’t imagine them getting beat by this Duke team. (Now, if Duke can somehow pull the upset, and Auburn beats Missouri, and MSU beats Ohio State, we could get an Iron Bowl rematch! I think that would be much more welcomed than the last SEC West National Championship. Those chances are really slim, I know. But I can dream, can’t I?) I am picking Florida State by at least 2TD.
My Pick: Clemson vs Virginia Tech
Pac 12 Championship: 7Stanford vs 11Arizona State How in the world did I end up picking the correct matchup for the Pac 12 Championship? After all the craziness and Oregon apparently not wanting to go to the Rose Bowl, how did I get it right? These two teams played earlier this season and Stanford won 42-28. I think this time will be a little closer. Arizona has greatly improved this season, and Stanford hasn’t improved too much, but they were good to start with. If Stanford can keep the score low, they should be able to win. But Arizona State has shown the ability to score a lot of points. The matchup between running backs Tyler Gaffney of Stanford and Marion Grice of Arizona State should be an interesting one. I’m really looking forward to this game. I am picking Stanford by a TD or less.
My Pick: Stanford vs Arizona State (called it!)
MWC Championship: Utah State at 23Fresno State Utah State at 23Fresno State Two weeks ago, I would have said this would be a blowout by Fresno State. But then they went and had their BCS chances ruined by allowing 62 points from San Jose State. While this Bulldog team has one of the best offenses in the country, their defense has yet to prove themselves. Derek Carr is a great QB, and put up eye-popping numbers in the loss last week, but unless he gets some help from his defense on Saturday, he might not get a win. Utah State is a very good team and they have a pretty good defense as well. All of that being said, I think Derek Carr will be able to outscore the Aggies. I don’t think he will be able to be stopped. Fresno State has had a number of close high scoring games, and this could be the case again. I am picking Fresno State by about a TD.
My Pick: Fresno State vs Boise State
C-USA Championship: Marshall at Rice Marshall was able to run all over East Carolina last week in a game that was supposed to be a lot closer. This game should be more competitive because of Rice’s rushing attack. These teams are very well matched up on paper, but I haven’t seen much of either, well except when Rice played Texas A&M and Manziel had to sit out a whole half! (That was so long ago.) But from my notes and research, Marshall should win this game. But it is being played at Rice, so that might give the Owls an edge, I expect a close, moderately high-scoring game with a lot of rushing. I am picking Marshall by a TD.
My Pick: Marshall vs Tulsa
Bedlam: 17Oklahoma at 6Oklahoma State If Oklahoma State wins this game, they will be headed to the BCS for the third straight season. Though they won’t be the sole winners of the Big 12, they will own a share with the winner of the Baylor-Texas winner. But the BCS tiebreaker will go to the Cowboys because they beat both Texas and Baylor. Oklahoma State has to beat Oklahoma first though. The Cowboys have had a tough time against Oklahoma throughout their rivalry, including 9 losses in the last ten years. I think Oklahoma State should have no problem this year though. Oklahoma, although they are 9-2, has not looked that great this season. But this is Bedlam, and bedlam is usually what we get. I am picking Oklahoma State by a TD or more.
25Texas at 9Baylor Baylor has had a very unimpressive last two games. Texas had an impressive win over Texas Tech last week. But I think Baylor will go back to being themselves in this game. They go back to Waco for this game, where the Bears have been unstoppable this season. I expect the Bears to take all of their anger out on this Texas team who had to take WVU to OT to win. The Longhorn defense should not be enough to stop Baylor. Look for Bryce Petty to have a good game and make the Baylor fans even more excited that he is coming back next season. Everything is going pretty well for the Bears, with their new stadium and the program’s recent success. I think they will share the Big 12 title with Oklahoma State, but they will not get the automatic bid to the BCS because of their loss to the Cowboys. I am picking Baylor by at least a TD.
19Louisville at Cincinnati (Thursday) Both of these teams have the ability to score and they also play pretty good defense. Lase year this game went into OT and Louisville won 34-31. I expect a similar game this season. I don’t know if it will go into OT again, but I think it will be close the whole game. Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater has fallen out of the Heisman race because of the loss to UCF earlier in the season, but he is still a great QB. I have a soft spot for Cincinnati this year because of receiver Mekale McKay who transferred Arkansas to be closer to family. Will the fact that Louisville isn’t playing for a chance at a conference championship lead to a lackluster performance? Who knows, but I think the Bearcats will be able to pull the upset. I am picking Cincinnati by a TD.
16UCF at SMU
19Louisville 31 Cincinnati 24 OT (Thursday)
Memphis at Connecticut
USF at Rutgers
ULL at South Alabama